Right after announcing that Diablo 3's real-world auction house would be delayed, Blizzard on Friday said that it now estimates a launch date of Tuesday, May 29. The previous date was set for Tuesday, May 22, but was thus suspended due to the server struggles following the game's release earlier this week.
On Thursday Blizzard issued an apology to the Diablo 3 community for putting up with the list of errors served up to anxious, irritated gamers over the last several days.
"We’d like to extend a very sincere thank you to everyone who joined the global Diablo 3 launch celebrations this week, as well as to everyone who was ready to jump into Sanctuary the moment the game went live," the company said. "We’ve been humbled by your enthusiasm -- and we sincerely regret that your crusade to bring down the Lord of Terror was thwarted not by mobs of demons, but by mortal infrastructure."
Forbes is currently asking if the botched Diablo 3 launch has damaged PC gaming on a whole. Fans sunk $60 into a game they eagerly waited to purchase for over a decade, and couldn't even play because of Internet-based DRM. Without the ability to log onto Battle.net, they were locked out of the single-player campaign. As indie PC designer Jeff Vogel states, this scenario tarnishes the entire PC/Mac platform.
"Every gamer who gets hit with this sort of thing has a chance of being pushed away from the PC (and with good reason!) and toward consoles and iOS, platforms that don’t have these hassles," he said. "My business will, in a small way, get tarred with this brush, and it hurts my bottom line. Which makes me sad."
Most developers claim they were forced to consoles because of the piracy issues surrounding the PC/Mac platfrom -- piracy is rampant on all gaming platforms, but PC/Mac is by far the worst. Yet at the same time, restrictive DRM has pushed PC gamers over to consoles as well, and Diablo 3's launch blunder may be a perfect example of the DRM effect. It's almost as if the company is saying, "sure, we'll take your money, but there's no guarantee you can play it. It can't even be pirated."
Slashgear reports that Blizzard conducted emergency server restarts across Battle.net early Friday morning, and by 10:30am CST, the entire network was down -- including the website and forums. Everything seems to be up and running for the moment, and there's no sign of any kind of explanation. User comments state that the service was still down in Europe and Canada four hours ago. One user even suggests that people are trying to hack both the game and the anti-hack measures, and that Blizzard is doing its best to stop it.
Console owners grinning over the Diablo 3 woes will get their own troubles soon thanks to the coming tide of digital rights management, subscription services and used game prohibitions. Sounds like just another day on the PC platform.